I love Real Madrid, probably more than is healthy (but that's why I got into this whole blogging gig in the first place). I'm also acutely aware that my team (and their bitter rivals, FC Barcelona) is sucking the life out of the Spanish Liga. As you can probably already guess, I don't think that there's anything hypocritical about those two statements. Let me explain why:
A while back, after the whole Supercopa mess, I tweeted that, despite the result, I was very proud to be a madridista (and yeah, I congratulated FC Barcelona in the process--they deserved it).
Despite what went on--the racism from both sides, the brutal brawl that is still being played out in the board rooms and press conferences all over the world--I was (am!) proud to be a fan of this team. Your team needs your support the most when things look the worst; when things are great, it couldn't matter less that you're proud to be a fan.
So what does this have to do with la Liga and the whole financial mess? Read on.The main reason I wanted to bring up that match (and really, I think it's best to move on as much as possible), is to demonstrate a point that extends far beyond the idiocy of one brawl. It's to try to explain how one can at once support a team with all your heart, and simultaneously recognize that some of what that club does is wrong.
A friend of our site, Arron (he's also an editor over at BarcaBlaugranes) responded to my tweet, saying "how can you be proud when your manager gouges another's eye?" [Note: I harbor no ill will towards Arron, and I do not mean to paint him as a villain at all. The rest of his tweet, which you can find by following the link, was very respectful, just like he has been on the occasions where we have crossed cyber-paths.]
It's a good question, in a broader sense: how can we support a team that does things we don't approve of? It's a question that every fan has to ask himself or herself, and a question that most people don't because they're afraid of the answer. They don't want to come away from this sort of reflection feeling badly about themselves, their team, or both.
It's still necessary, though, because unless you can recognize that your team can be wrong, and do things that hurt other people or teams, you'll be be blinded by your loyalty, become jingoistic in your support, and you won't be taken seriously (plus, people like that are super annoying). Every team has done something wrong. Sorry, Arsenal fans, you too (cut to Arsene Wenger, "hey, don't drag me into this!").
So with that in mind, it's important to recognize Real Madrid's (and Barcelona--yeah, they do things wrong too!) part in this whole la Liga financial mess. Real Madrid, Barcelona, the LFP, RFEF, and capitalism in general are to blame for this terrible financial situation (and since I don't want to talk about politics, I'll stay away from capitalism): Real Madrid and Barcelona could fix most of what's going wrong in the Liga if they just had the courage to act. But they don't--partly because it's not in their sporting interests to do so, and partly because they're just greedy bastards--so the system stays the way it is. Of course, the LFP/RFEF/UEFA/FIFA could step in, but hey, why do something when you could just as easily sit back, make money, and...not.
Sorry madridistas. It's true. If our club had even the tiniest amount of courage, we could change this whole system for the better. And yeah, culés, if your saintly "more-than-a-club" would show any courage at all you could do the same thing. But guess what? Neither one will.
It's important for us to understand what's going on so we can try to do something to help fix the problem: as fans, we hold the power in our own hands. The first task is to understand what's really happening (we've covered la Liga's financial problems in depth on this site), and to recognize our club's role in it. The second step is to act, to tell the club that we're fed up with the way things are--because, in the end, no one wants to watch a league that comes down to two matches. That's why you see the "Liga Justa" emblem on the left side of this site--and I truly believe in this cause, no matter how hypocritical I sound. (If you want to take action, check our their website).
This is how I can both be proud of my team, and disagree with policies, or their role in particular events. I'm proud to be a madridista, and I'm proud of Real Madrid; I'm embarrassed that Real Madrid is one of the two clubs that are ruining Spanish soccer. These feelings aren't mutually exclusive, and I don't think I'm being hypocritical when I say to José María Del Nido of Sevilla, "Good work, sir, and good luck with your revolution, I really hope it works. I also hope that Madrid crushes Sevilla next time we play."